Sainz grabs maiden pole in wet qualifying

Verstappen had led the way through Q1 and Q2 and appeared to be on course to complete a clean sweep as he also topped the times ahead of the final runs in the third segment.

Indeed, Verstappen set the fastest first sector of Q3 on his last effort, but lost time around the rest of the lap and could not improve his personal best.

He briefly had to lift going through Becketts and Chapel due to a yellow flag marker board being activated as Leclerc was having an incident ahead, which cost him all of the gains he made in sector one and more.

That meant he could not get back ahead of Sainz, who was shocked to take pole with a 1m40.983s that he said “felt terrible” – despite setting the quickest Q3 times in the second and third sectors.

Leclerc wound up third as he spun exiting Chapel and heading onto the Hanger straight after he hit a patch of standing water on his final Q3 lap, as he looked to be Verstappen’s closest challenger for pole before Sainz surprised everyone – including himself, as he asked his engineer “how did I do P1?!” after crossing the line – to take the top spot.

Sergio Perez took fourth in the other Red Bull, ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris – both of whom had registered high placings through the early segments of qualifying, which was wet throughout after rain doused the Silverstone track in the 15 minutes ahead of the 3pm local start time.

Then came Fernando Alonso and George Russell, with Zhou Guanyu making it through to Q3 for the second race in a row and ending up ninth for Alfa Romeo.

Nicholas Latifi was delighted to make it through to Q3 for the first time in 2022, but he did not set a representative time in the final segment and so finished 10th and last of the shootout runners.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Q2 began with the rain falling harder again after it had stopped by the end of Q1, which put a premium on fast, early banker efforts.

This nearly caught out Sainz as he languished in the drop zone after the initial laps in the middle segment, but the Spaniard was able to jump up the order at the halfway point, after which the rain falling ever harder meant no drivers were able to improve and the elimination order was set.

Pierre Gasly was the highest placed driver to be knocked out in 11th for AlphaTauri, followed by Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas – an early spinner in Q1 at Club – and Yuki Tsunoda.

Daniel Ricciardo wound up down in 14th in the other McLaren, followed by Alpine driver Esteban Ocon.

In Q1, the opening segment began with rain falling steadily, but the pack nevertheless headed out on the intermediates, which was the compound used throughout qualifying and the drivers were generally fueled to circulate throughout all three segments.

All five of the drivers knocked out at the end of Q1 set their quickest times right at the end in the best of the conditions of the whole qualifying session, but could not improve enough to escape, with Alex Albon finishing just 16th in the updated Williams and frustrated at being ordered to complete cool down laps between flying efforts.

Then came Kevin Magnussen and Sebastian Vettel, who were followed in unison by their respective Haas and Aston Martin team-mates – Mick Schumacher and Lance Stroll, who brought up the rear of the field.

Vettel’s exit in 18th marks the four-time world champion’s first ever Q1 elimination at Silverstone.

F1 British GP – qualifying result

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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